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Intersticios sociales

On-line version ISSN 2007-4964


INDA, Graciela. The Encounter between Poulantzas and Althusser (1964-1968): Resonances on the State and Political Practice. Intersticios sociales [online]. 2021, n.22, pp.9-45.  Epub Nov 03, 2021. ISSN 2007-4964.

While the influence that the Althusserian approach exerted on Poulantzas’ early political theory is widely recognized, it is a challenge to find a precise, thorough analysis of the former’s concepts and thesis that would explain this imprint, or of the maladjustments and distances between them that suggest a much more complex link. Seeking to contribute to efforts to fill this gap, this study identifies, precisely, the forms assumed and the theoretical effects that led to Poulantzas’ encounter with Althusser in relation to the State and politics (1964-1968). Framed by the specific conditions produced by the crisis of Marxism, that encounter revealed, in reality, a complex link that cannot be conceived adequately as either a devoted repetition of formulas or a superficial or casual adhesion. Our conclusions underscore the importance of understanding the encounter in three aspects or dimensions: as an appropriation of certain theoretical inputs in the formulation of a Marxist theory of the State and politics; as an exercise in conceptual counterpoints or disagreements; and as an elaboration of innovative contributions that opened unique pathways for the study of the capitalist State, some of which Althusser himself later recognized.

Keywords : Poulantzas; Althusser; theoretical/political meeting; State; political practice.

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